The Child in Time
The Child in Time on the surface tells the story of the grief of losing a child, but underneath it explores what it means to have a lost childhood. With a powerhouse cast and a provoking theme, The Child in Time excels as one of the best social dramas this year.
Stephen Lewis, a children's author, is faced with the unthinkable after he loses his only child, Kate, in a supermarket. Years later, while still trying to grapple with his daughter's disappearance, Stephen reconnects with his estrange wife as they try to rebuild their lives despite the gapping hole. Meanwhile, Stephen's editor, Charles, faces his own crisis, as he tries to recuse himself from his demons.
The Child in Time presents more than just a story about a single lost child. The disappearance of 4-year-old Kate is the catalysts for the bigger story presented in the many layers of Ian McEwan's story. The Child in Time is an examination of the strict and repressed society of the English upper class and how the loss a childhood impacts the psyche of the adult. Stephen's imagination has him holding his breath underwater as he wants to become a fish, and Charles is desperate for the stimulation and freedom of unadulterated play. Both men are desperately trying to abandon their adult misfortunes and regress back to a time of care-free adolescents. It's a beautiful and poetic tale about the sacrifice of growing up too fast in a world that forces children to become adults too soon.
Julian Farino's production is wonderfully crafted and contains some of the most evocative and harrowing moments on television this year. The sorrow that engulfs Farino's film, paired with the agony and heartache of Stephen Butchard's screenplay, creates a film that reflects trials and pain of loving - loving your child, loving your significant other, loving yourself. But it also finds the beauty of opening yourself up to love. Adrian Johnston's soft and melancholy score provides the perfect backdrop for Farino's tough world.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly Macdonald marvel in their roles as grieving parents. While watching these two on screen, you can physically feel the pain of their world falling apart. Their performances are brutal and raw and leave you drained from not just witnessing their emotional torment, but actually being apart of it. Macdonald, much more visceral with her anguish, finds the heart of a suffering mother and the strength of a courageous woman. Whereas Cumberbatch, much more contained in his performance, portrays the oppression and agonizing private pain of Stephen with subtlety. His performance is quiet and subdued, yet powerful and harrowing. His performance is physically affecting on your soul, leaving you longing to help repair his broken spirit.
The rest of the cast fulfill their roles to perfection, in particular Stephen Campbell Moore as the repressed Charles. Moore gives a thoughtful performance that finds the perfect balance between insanity and sanity, leaving you longing for nothing more than his happiness. Saskia Reeves also gives a stellar performance as Charles's warm and caring wife, Thelma.
The Child in Time is an agonizing and heartbreaking, but also speaks volumes about a society in need of repair. The film features marvelous performances from its entire cast and, under the fantastic direction of Julian Farino, creates a world that is quiet and distressing. Although difficult to watch, The Child in Time is a satisfying and poetic story that captures the pain of suffering world.